Making A Difference in Our County
We're working hard for the citizens we serve. Here are some examples of successful projects from the past year:
AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Cotton is one of Toombs County’s major agronomic crops. According to the 2015 Georgia Farm Gate Value Report, which was published in 2016, Toombs County had over 4,500 acres of cotton with a value in excess of $2.7 million. Following the loss of the DP 555 variety and the growth of herbicide technology, cotton producers have been inundated with many new varieties. Today a cotton grower has several options to consider, which can make variety selection a daunting task. Understanding the need to help Toombs County growers make the best variety choice possible, the Toombs County Extension agent, Extension cotton agronomist and a local cotton producer established a Toombs County cotton variety trial. Since 2014, the trial has consisted of 12 to 14 commercially available varieties that usually encompass approximately 10 acres. These trials are unique in that they are subject to the same in-field environment and treatments similar to their commercial counterparts. The research trial is then harvested and ginned, and the results shared with growers at the annual multicounty cotton production meeting. Toombs County cotton growers now have unbiased, research-based data that they can use to help them make decisions on cotton varieties. The results of the cotton variety trials demonstrated a variation of a low of 40 lb/A and a high of 270 lb/A. To further substantiate, a 250-acre cotton producer receiving 65 cents per pound can increase their revenue approximately $44,000. With over 4,500 acres of cotton grown in Toombs County, proper variety selection can increase farm gate value over a $1 million.
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES
The UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program provides answers to Georgians about canning, freezing, food preservation and safety each and every day. Foodborne illness can be costly to the state and community, and can even be deadly. The elderly, chronically ill and young children are at high risk for complications to foodborne illnesses that are likely to require hospitalization. Preventing illnesses keeps parents from missing work and losing pay that can be spent for goods in the local economy. Just one case of foodborne illness can cost millions in medical costs. To assist our county residents, publications featuring all aspects of food preservation and food safety are available in our local office.
4-H YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
For several years, the 4-H staff in Toombs County experienced a drop in the number of 4-H’ers participating in events that required a fee. A significant effort was made in 2016 to provide funding opportunities for youth who faced financial hardship in making their dream of attending camp a reality. A variety of traditional and nontraditional fundraising programs were added to allow youth the opportunity to attend camp. In 2016, Toombs County reached record numbers for Cloverleaf Camp participation. Over $3,000 was raised to assist youth with scholarships for camp. Additionally, youth individually raised over $10,500 through fundraisers to pay for camp fees. Over 50 percent of youth attending camp participated in fundraisers or received scholarships.